When we begin our adult fitness journey, we often begin in sports during our high school years and perhaps continue some form of intense exercise into our twenties. We have the luxury of jumping into and out of an exercise routine with hardly a glitch. Our youthful bodies perform at a high level with nary a complaint or injury even when we disregard a proper warm-up and cool-down.
But as we mature, things change. We begin to feel the aches and pains for a longer period of time when we neglect our fitness routines, or when we begin anew. We start to experience injuries, and our bodies loudly rebel when we neglect our warm-ups and cool-downs. We find that our range of movement begins to decline, as well.
Most of us will face a debilitating injury from our own poor judgment toward fitness at some point in our lives. When we do, we have the opportunity to learn more about our bodies’ requirements and needs. We have the opportunity to use the down time to listen to our bodies and to become wiser. We have the opportunity to allow the injury to instruct our future path. We also have the opportunity to learn how to prevent future injuries.
One of the best ways to avoid a fitness related injury is to actively engage our minds and listen to our bodies while working out. When we truly listen, we learn that we shouldn’t put our bodies into high gear and “floor it” for the full workout. Just as every run is not a race, neither is every workout a competition. We train to nourish and sustain our bodies. We train at an optimal level for our bodies.
“Optimal” means that we feel good and perhaps a little challenged during our workout. We give more when we feel we have it to give and back off when we don’t. When we learn to give our bodies the rest they require, and also the challenge they need, we have moved into a sustainable, lifelong habit that will mature with us. We have also learned wisdom and maturity.
So the next time we begin to think, “Wow! That set was great. I think I can do another one only harder.” Or “I am in a hurry, so I am skipping the warm-up.” Or “Stretching after my workout is a waste of time,” let the alarm bells begin to ring our heads. Associate those thoughts toward fitness with the very real pain of injury. And remind ourselves that we must let go of the immature ways that do not serve us well as adults.
Have a great day!
Pilsung (Certain Victory).